Transporting Poultry – Jason’s Ninth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Take Me Home (via) Country Roads…

Take me home
Take me home

Spring is in the air – crocuses, daffodils, birds singing and making nests, the promise of some fine warmer weather and longer days. We all look forward to the lighter evenings. For the chicken keeper, those lighter evenings can bring a rather different problem. It presents itself on those evenings when you’ve just had enough, are too tired, exhausted even, or are simply hoping for an evening out… Continue reading “Transporting Poultry – Jason’s Ninth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

An Introductory Guide To Cockerels – Jason’s Eighth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

GOOD MORNING WORLD! or in the words of our favourite cockerel ‘cock-a-doodle-doo!!’. It’s a crisp February morning, and as winter moves (hopefully) into its final month our Gold Brahma cockerel, ‘Solar’, belts it out like a ship coming into dock!, announcing the start of another new day.

A huge cock-a-doodle-do from Solar
A huge cock-a-doodle-do from Solar

After many years in poultry keeping it would be hard for me to pick a favourite breed, however if you were to pin me down, it would have to be the Brahma, though definitely not suitable for everyone mostly due to their huge size and lack of egg numbers, the almost guaranteed placid nature and beautiful markings makes them a very attractive pet bird. Over many years Solar has literally been a star at Mantel Farm, often being allowed to wander around in our shop, minding his own business, allowing children to stroke him, and often attending events and shows with us, creating quite a stir, many people saying ‘ they never knew that there was such a large chicken!’. Continue reading “An Introductory Guide To Cockerels – Jason’s Eighth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Poultry Care, Getting Hens Through Winter – Jason’s Seventh Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

It was early one very cold January morning, many years ago when I learned something about keeping poultry that I have passed on (not so much as advice, but) as a warning to many other keepers.

Frozen drinker - no drink here!
Frozen drinker – no drink here!

We woke up to a thick layer of snow that morning, and as ever when it comes, what a sight to wake up to, I always want to rush out with my camera, there are always so many great ‘snowy’ shots to take around the farm, though to be honest, I probably took them last time we had snow! A little slower than normal I made my way down to do what we refer to here as the morning ‘open up’, referring to all the animals (we don’t just do chickens!) as ‘everyone’, the open up is the regular morning routine of making sure everyone is let out of their overnight enclosures, fed, watered, a visual health check and a brief chat with some of our old favourites! Most importantly making sure everyone is ‘still with us’!, always hoping not to find that there has been any sort of overnight disaster, this can take many forms, and over the years I’ve definitely had a few of them! Continue reading “Poultry Care, Getting Hens Through Winter – Jason’s Seventh Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Keeping Poultry Safe, Protection From Foxes – Jason’s Sixth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

I’m often asked when is the best time of year to start keeping poultry

Sturdy wire keeps out Mr Fox
Sturdy wire keeps out Mr Fox

I think most people would naturally consider the answer to be early spring. This is the time of year when we always notice our shop getting busier, as we joke about the customers coming out of hibernation! Without a doubt it is the time of year when most beginners start their poultry keeping, although I’m quite happy to advise that more or less any time of year can be just as good, ‘different seasons for different reasons’. Continue reading “Keeping Poultry Safe, Protection From Foxes – Jason’s Sixth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Introducing New Birds Into An Existing Flock – Jason’s Fifth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Everyone loves the thought of that ‘magic answer’ – something many seek when it comes to introducing new birds into an existing flock!

Cockerels Can Help Introductions
Cockerels can help introductions

In our shop, I work extremely hard to ensure that no one leaves, having purchased birds, without being asked if they have an existing flock, and whether they intend to introduce the new ones to them. If the answer is yes, they are asked if they have done this before, how it went, and just a quick run through to ensure they did it the best way possible. If the answer is no, then myself or my staff will talk them through the procedure that we recommend they follow. This is never set in stone, and will depend on many factors – for successful introduction, there is much you must know… Continue reading “Introducing New Birds Into An Existing Flock – Jason’s Fifth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Autumn Poultry Care – Jason’s Fourth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Thoughts on keeping your flock safe and healthy during Autumn and Winter

Autumn is upon us! I’m sure we say it every year, but soon the clocks will be changing and the nights will be drawing in, before we know it, pumpkins, bonfire night, log fires and, yep – Christmas again! (That reminds me, I still haven’t got around to chopping enough logs for the fire, and every year I’m convinced we’ll be ready, but there’s just too much to do!)

Chicken perching in our pear tree
Chicken perching in our pear tree

So what does this seasonal change mean to the poultry keeper?

For many, poultry keeping is ‘all about the eggs’ – a drop in light levels can mean a drop in egg production. Continue reading “Autumn Poultry Care – Jason’s Fourth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Are you suffering from re-occurring red ‘mitemares’?!

Although an incredibly difficult problem to solve 100%, this month through practical advice and my own experiences, I’ll be aiming to get you as close to that goal as possible and hopefully have you sleeping a bit easier!

Red Mite Under Microscope
Red Mite Under Microscope

What is Red Mite?

I guess any new poultry keepers reading this may well be wondering what we are talking about here, well, we are talking about (in my opinion): ‘poultry enemy No.1’ – The Red Spider Mite. Continue reading “Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

A Poultry MOT Checklist – Jason’s First Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

MOT checklist – Driving Miss Daisy (& Henrietta too!)

A brief intro to who’s doing the talking – my name is Jason Weller, together with my wife Kerry and two sons we run Mantel Farm in East Sussex as a ‘Garden Farming’ business, concentrating mainly on the small scale livestock side, specialising in poultry & bees. We sell a wide range of poultry, feed, equipment, runs, housing / hives, provide a range of training courses, also having a poultry and small animal boarding service, which we established in 2007.
Continue reading “A Poultry MOT Checklist – Jason’s First Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”